Ethics Notes for UPSC Exam

By Ritesh|Updated : September 14th, 2022

Ethics Notes for UPSC are very relevant and important for the Ethics and Aptitude Paper (GS Paper 4) of the UPSC Mains. The Ethics Notes for UPSC prepares and molds the candidates' minds to the issues of integrity and probity they would be facing in their administrative public life. Direct concept-related questions and case studies are asked in this paper on the UPSC Exam.

UPSC Mains General Studies Paper IV (GS-IV) is about Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude. The article covers all the major topics related to the paper and requires the attention of a UPSC aspirant. The topics include Human Values, Ethics & Governance, Emotional Intelligence, Famous Thinkers and their philosophies, etc. After going through the article, the candidates will understand what is needed and study for the IAS Exam.

Ethics UPSC Notes

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude are the GS Paper 4 of the UPSC Mains. The paper is scored as direct concept-related questions, and case studies are asked. It tests the candidate's stand towards integrity and probity they would be facing later in life. The broad topics that are covered for Ethics UPSC Notes are:

  • Ethics and Human Interface: Essence, determinants, and consequences of Ethics in human actions; dimensions of ethics; ethics in private and public relationships
  • Attitude: content, structure, function; its influence and relation with thought and behavior; moral and political attitudes; social influence and persuasion
  • Contributions of moral thinkers and philosophers from India and the world
  • Human Values - lessons from the lives and teachings of great leaders, reformers, and administrators; the role of family, society, and educational institutions in inculcating values.

Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude Notes for UPSC

The UPSC Mains General Studies Paper-IV consists of twelve questions, 10 marks, and 20 marks, depending on the length of the answer required. The total mark for the Ethics Paper is 250 marks. Direct concept-related questions and Case studies are the types of questions asked. Candidates should familiarize themselves with the UPSC Syllabus and Ethics Syllabus for UPSC, along with the UPSC Previous Year Question Papers, to better understand the UPSC Exam Pattern.

The following are the sub-topics covered in the Ethics Notes for UPSC.

Human values

  • Role of Ethical values in governance and society
  • Individual Personality and Values
  • Democratic values
  • Values and Skill
  • Human Values & Socialization
  • Fundamental and Instrumental Values
  • Significance of values in civil services
  • Values in work life and professional ethics
  • Aesthetic values

Aptitude and Foundational Values of Civil Services

  • Neutrality, Anonymity, Integrity, Humility, Adaptability, Magnanimity, Perseverance
  • Foundational Values of Civil Services
  • Impartiality and Non-Partisanship
  • Contribution to society by Civil Services
  • Tolerance and compassion for the Weaker section
  • Civil Services Accountability
  • Values in work life and professional ethics
  • Essential Aptitude for civil servants
  • Aesthetic values


  • Impact of Beliefs and Values on Attitude
  • Functions of Attitude: Adjustive, Ego-Defensive, Value-Expressive, Knowledge Function
  • Persuasion Tactics and Tools of Persuasion
  • Political Attitude formation
  • Attitude Formation Model
  • Social Influence
  • Group Influences
  • Components of Attitude: Affective, Cognitive, Behavioral components
  • Moral Attitude formation

Ethics & Governance

  • What is Corporate Governance?
  • Models of Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Values & Ethics in Public Administration
  • Concept of business ethics
  • Ethical Concerns in Public Institutions
  • Ethical Concerns in Private Institutions
  • Norms for Corporate Government in India
  • Laws, Rules, and Regulations as Source of Ethical Guidance
  • Accountability and Ethical Governance Strengthening of Ethical and Moral Values in Governance
  • Ethics in working with international organizations
  • Moral Judgments in International Relations Ethical Relation in Funding
  • Steps were taken by World Bank for Good Corporate Governance
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Public and Private Institutions
  • International Relations and concept of Moral Responsibility

India and World Thinkers

  • Indian Thinkers
    • S Radhakrishnan
    • Sri Aurobindo
    • Aruna Roy
    • Bhim Rao Ambedkar
    • Sardar Patel
    • ChhatrapatiShahuMaharaj
    • Mother Teresa
    • Amitabha Chowdhury
    • E Sreedharan
    • T N Seshan
    • Rabindranath Tagore
    • Buddha
    • Swami Vivekananda
    • Raja Ram Mohan Roy
    • Mahatama Gandhi
    • MahadevaGovindaRanade
    • Swami DayanandSaraswati
  • Administrative Thinkers
    • Chestar Barnard
    • Peter Drucker
    • Max Weber
    • Elton Mayo
    • Mary Parker Follet
  • World Thinkers
    • Plato
    • Montesquieu
    • Rene Descartes
    • S. Mill
    • Galileo
    • Democritus
    • Aristotle
    • Karl Marx
    • Voltaire
    • John Locke
    • Thomas Hobbes
    • Friedrich Nietzsche
    • Adam Smith
    • Immanuel Kant
    • Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel
    • Thomas Jefferson
    • Confucius
    • Carol Gilligan
    • Socrates
    • Thomas Aquinas
    • Jean Jacques Rousseau
    • Jean Paul Sartre
    • Jeremy Bentham
    • David Hume
    • John Rawls
  • Indian & World Leaders
    • Dalai Lama
    • J L Nehru
    • Aung San Suu Kyi
    • Mother Teresa
    • King Ashoka
    • Muhammad Yunus
    • Abdul Kalam
    • Benjamin Franklin
    • Mahatma Gandhi
    • Martin Luther King
    • Isaac Newton
    • Wangari Maathai
    • Siddhartha Gautama
    • Elie Wiesel
    • Lech Walesa
    • Albert Einstein
    • Kofi Annan
    • Abraham Lincoln
    • Lee Kuan Yew
    • Sun Yat Sen
    • Nelson Mandela
    • Henry Ford
    • Swami Vivekananda
    • Desmond Tutu

Probity In Governance

  • Components of a Citizen Charter
  • Corruption in India: extent, dimension, and response
  • Probity in public life Corrupt practice among civil servants and official misconduct
  • The Indian Approach to Work
  • Corruption as a social evil
  • The philosophical basis of Governance and Probity
  • Quality of Service Delivery
  • Concept of Public Service
  • Information sharing and participation Importance of Code of ethics
  • Exposing corruption: Civil Society initiatives and role of the Whistleblower Act
  • Utilization of Public Funds
  • Steps in the formulation of a Citizen’s Charter
  • Concept of Work Culture
  • Controlling corruption: Various approaches and efficacy
  • Code of Conduct for Ministers; for Legislators for Civil Servants; for Regulators and the Judiciary
  • Methods of improving Work Culture
  • Tackling corruption: Role of government and institutions of governance
  • Importance of vigilant citizens
  • Problems in Fund Release and Utilization Parliamentary Control on Expenditure
  • Code of Ethics in Professions
  • Flaws in RTI and recommendations for improvement
  • Information Sharing, Transparency, and Right to Information

Emotional Intelligence

  • Reuven Bar-on Model
  • Relevance of Emotional intelligence in Civil Services
  • Peter Salovey and John Mayer
  • Goleman’s model
  • Concept of Emotional Intelligence Models of emotional intelligence
  • Main Components of emotional intelligence
  • Critiques of emotional intelligence
  • Importance of emotional intelligence in bureaucracy
  • Utilities of Emotional Intelligence

How to Prepare for Notes for Ethics UPSC

Ethics is an important segment of the UPSC Exam. The GS Paper 4 Syllabus covers the Ethics, Aptitude, and Integrity Paper well. One can also refer to the Ethics Books for UPSC to prepare the notes.

To prepare Notes for Ethics, one should refer to the following UPSC Study Material:

  • Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury
  • Ethical Dilemmas of a Civil Servant by Anil Swarup
  • Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies by Niraj Kumar
  • Administrative Reforms Commission Reports (ARC Report), especially the Second ARC Report on Ethics in Governance.

Ethics Notes for UPSC PDF

Students can download the Ethics Notes for UPSC PDF from the link below. The PDF contains all the necessary topics that are expected to be covered for the IAS Exam.

Other Important UPSC Notes
Defamation Law in IndiaDelhi Durbar 1911
Forest (Conservation) Act 1980Immoral Traffic Prevention Act (ITPA) 1956
13th Major Port of India21st Century Maritime Silk Road
Aadhaar Act 2016Chera Dynasty
Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation ActChild Marriage Restraint Act 1929


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FAQs on Ethics UPSC Notes

  • To make Ethics Notes for UPSC, one should keep the following points in mind:

    • Go through the UPSC Syllabus and Ethics Syllabus in detail 
    • Prepare a list of keywords that is important for the Ethics paper
    • Go through the most important and frequently asked topics and cover them in detail
    • Refer to the previous year's papers and solve the case study questions in mocks.
  • To prepare the Notes for Ethics for UPSC Mains Exam, one should refer to the Second ARC Report on Ethics in Governance, Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude by G Subba Rao & P N Roy Chowdhury and Lexicon for Ethics, Integrity & Aptitude for IAS General Studies by Niraj Kumar. Post this; one should be in touch with the Current Affairs that have the potential to be covered as a case study for the exam.

  • Ethics is one of the four GS Paper of the UPSC Mains exam, and one needs to cover it in detail. The Ethics paper is compulsory for the UPSC IAS Exam.

  • Ideally, completing Ethics Notes for UPSC, it takes around a month. Ethics, Integrity, and Aptitude paper check the candidate’s approach to the issues of integrity and probity.

  • To download the Ethics Notes for UPSC PDF, click here.

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